Twins apparently ran in the family, and ran in the family cause of Uncle Kay. He told me there were several cases of multiples in different branches of my family tree. Then he paused and said an aunt and uncle of mine were twins, and my grandfather was a triplet. So it wasn’t too weird although Specter seemed pretty dazed by it. I eventually became dazed by it too, after the first shock and happiness wore off and I realized five kids. FIVE kids under–under the age of five.
WHAT THE HELL HAD WE BEEN THINKING?!
Why hadn’t Specter tried to convince me more to wait longer? Why was I so insistent on giving Gladdy a playmate even though she was gonna be turning two shortly after the baby–the babies–would be born and–I was stupid. I was stupid. This was complete proof I was stupid. Twins. Five kids. Oh man, Villy was only going to be four. Just four. Four. Three. Two. And then two newborns. Why. WHY?! WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?!
Uncle Kay and Gretchen promised they’d give us as much help as they could and in fact Gretchen said she was considering moving closer. She didn’t feel like renting out a room, didn’t like her house anymore, and sorta wanted to live in Moonlight Falls. I tried not to encourage this but was really relieved when just at the beginning of September she finally sold her house and with me, Uncle Kay and Specter’s help got moved into a small place in town, only a eight to ten minute drive from us. That was great, plus the kids were super happy they got to see more of Gramms.
Of course Specter and I talked a lot about names for the twins. We both thought about regular, non-video-game-y names but weren’t sure how weird it’d be to have Vilkas, Presea, and Glados and then like… Katherine or Johnny. Though Glados was a fairly normal name and might be a good transition into like, normalish names. But I sorta had a couple names in the back of my head. Okay, tons of names. And finally we decided to give them names after video game characters that I liked.
“We might as well,” Specter said wearily. Not weary of the name thing but just weary cause he was working a lot more lately and we were changing the house around. He wasn’t gonna have his own study anymore, it was gonna be Villy’s room since it was the smallest, and the twins would have their own room (and Presea and Gladdy had theirs). And then when the kids were a bit older we were probably gonna shuffle them around a bit. Depending on their sexes which we decided to let it be a surprise, since these would be our last biological kids. Maybe one day we’d adopt again. Maybe. After we didn’t have a hundred kids at the same age because of my stupidity.
Specter had his birthday, I had mine, then Villy turned four, Presea turned three, and it was almost time to have the babies. I was hum…hou… huge. I felt huge, looked huge. I was definitely ready to have these babies. The pregnancy had been really hard on me, making me very glad this was the last time. Morning sickness had hit me worse than before, my sense of smell was the worst, and the second trimester had been a complete nightmare for me because now I was scared of losing two babies and not just one like before. Then there was the fact they moved. NO. They didn’t move. They fought. They played sports. I don’t know, but they were extremely active and causing me a lot of pain as they would either both move around a lot at the same time, or else they’d take turns and I never got a break. My tired level was at an all-time high and the doctor actually made me take bed rest by the time I was at 7 months.
Gretchen came in almost daily, or else Uncle Kay came in to help, and then Specter would come home and do work. I felt bad they were doing so much… but if I tried to do anything I would get gently nudged back into the bed or onto the couch. The kids wanted to play and would throw fits when told I couldn’t really play with them though I did read to them as much as I could.
One night, about a month before the twins were due, I broke down completely. I felt so guilty for being demanded to do bed rest. Specter held me as tightly as he dared, rubbing my back and kissing my neck and promising me it was okay. “But you–you’re so tired all the t-t-time!” I wailed.
“And I can handle that,” he said soothingly. “You need more rest than me right now. Your body is a bit preoccupied. Don’t stress out, love.”
“I just–I hate laying around all day doing nothing. I’m even getting tired of video games.”
“It’s just another month,” he said, kissing my neck again.
Another month and we would have two more babies. Little Zaid and Kross, or Illuminata and Quinn.
Like before, we moved into the labs when my due date came super close which was good since I went into labor a full week early. I had to be knocked out completely because of how hard the birthing part was and when I came to I found that I had both a daughter and a son! That wasn’t what I was expecting. A little boy and little girl. I cried when I held them both, and Specter was beaming and grinning all proud.
“Look at them, Specter!” I gasped out. “They’re–they’re so cute… look at them…”
“We have twins,” he breathed out, looking down at the boy which was in his arms as I held the girl. “We have another son.”
“Villy will be happy,” I chuckled. “Hey there little princess. Ohhh look at her, Specter!”
“Just as cute as her sisters,” he agreed. “Wow. Two more… it–it’s… I knew… but seeing them both now just… wow.”
We exchanged babies and I peered down into the teensy scrunched face of my son. “Oooh,” I cooed. “Hey sweetie! Oh! Specter. Look at them!”
“So which names will it be?” he asked, not looking away from the girl.
I blinked, then realized I had two names for each of them. I had never even thought about the twins being different sexes which was silly since, well, Uncle Kay and his sister. “Illuminata for her,” I said with a nod. “Lumie. I really like the nickname Lumie.”
“And him? Zaid or Kross?”
“I don’t know.” I studied the baby’s face carefully. “Zaid. Zaid and Lumie.”
It wasn’t a 24 hour job, it was more like a fifty-hour-per-day job. So many dishes to do, and food to cook, and clothes to wash, and diapers to change (3 kids in diapers!) and so very little sleep. Specter’s patience wore thin pretty quickly and I felt guilty that mine was going thin too. I tried not to snap at the kids and then usually ended up snapping at Specter, and he’d snap back. We tried not to argue but we were both so completely exhausted that it seemed like it was all we could do. Luckily the fights didn’t keep. Neither of us slept on the couch and we’d be fine (ish) in the morning. There weren’t many apologies, because we both knew why the other was on edge and it was a sorta… quiet forgiveness between us.
One day Villy wouldn’t like the babies and complained about them, especially their crying–the next day he’d be fine. Sometimes Presea would side with him, sometimes she wouldn’t. Gladdy seemed to mostly like the babies except when she was put in time out for licking Zaid’s face. Specter and I did our best to work together but there were times I did more, to give him a break, or he did more, to give me a break–or Gretchen or Uncle Kay would come in to give us both breaks.
Some nights as I lay in bed so entirely exhausted I would wonder about my own sanity. I loved my kids but I had this feeling inside of me that… no, it wasn’t regret, it was never regret. It was more of… how did I ever think we could do this? Even if it hadn’t been twins, it’d be hard. Two kids were hard. Well… Glados wasn’t really… we didn’t plan her. She was a happy accident. But we both went ahead with another pregnancy. We both wanted more kids but why couldn’t we wait? Because I wanted the thingiemabob out? Because I wanted to go back to being able to enjoy every single part of intimacy with Specter? THAT was a laugh. We barely ever even got to kiss and I knew it’d be a good dang long while before we ever got to do anything more than kiss. Not cause we didn’t want to but… juggling five kids… his job… the house… every full moon a werewolf… newborn babies… two of them… it was like… it was a bit like a tide pulling us in. We swam and swam and swam not to be pulled under but it was so tiring.
So when summer rolled around and Gretchen and Uncle Kay told us that their combined birthday gift for Specter and me was a weekend away… we seriously considered it. The only drawback was the fact the twins were only 7 months and it was that reason we turned them down for the time being but maybe for our anniversary. Wow… it was gonna be our eighth. Already? Specter had turned 33, I was turning… 27. Wow. And 8 years married. And five kids. Sheesh.
But long before it was our anniversary, we needed to decide on what to do with the thingiemabob. We hadn’t done anything right off the bat due to the fact I could not, could not, take any time off to have surgery. Now… now maybe. We weren’t sure. I wasn’t sure. I wanted it to be looked at but was I ready for the surgery? I didn’t know. And it was completely up to me. Not anyone else, just my decision–unlike the pregnancy which had been both of us deciding. I didn’t like it was entirely up to me because I was super scared. What if taking it out caused me a lot of danger? What if keeping it in caused me danger? So many what ifs, and this was something I couldn’t like… read about other people going through it and making it through since… yeah. At least with male pregnancy I was able to look online and read stories from other guys who had gone through it. Now… now I couldn’t…
I remembered the leap of faith I took with becoming alive but that had been so long ago. I did risk things… but the only person I would be leaving behind if things went wrong was Specter which yeah, that was bad, but how could I even think about leaving him with 5 kids now? How–how could I do that? But I might not die by removing the thingiemabob, I could very well die from not removing it. It made my head all swimmy and thick whenever I thought about it and sometimes I cried, when I was by myself–since I really did my hardest not to break down in front of the kids.
I talked to Uncle Kay a lot over the end of summer and start of fall about it. His opinion was that he didn’t think I would die leaving it in, and most likely not taking it out. It took me a while to get that second bit from him. A lot of begging him for his honest opinion.
“We d-d-don’t know exactly what it is,” he finally, finally, finally admitted. “I don’t think anything b-bad will happen removing it b-but we can’t know that one hundred percent. I think th-that the chip, or mass, is only connected for re-reproduction purposes and I think removing it will not change anything else in–in you. But it might be… drawing something f-from you, if it is magic. However–however,” he repeated a second time a lot firmer cause of the panicked look on my face, “if it is magic, I assume someone p-put it in you to help you. I d-doubt they would put black magic in y-you if that is the case.”
He had a point about that. “And if it’s aliens?” I asked.
“It sh-should have its own way of operating without d-drawing your energy… I d-don’t think it should do anything to you.”
“You think I should have it removed?”
“It’s your d-d-decision.”
I pouted at that, wishing people would stop telling me it was my decision even though it was. I guess it was just because it was such a big and frightening decision I didn’t want to deal with it alone. And everyone told me the same thing. It was mine. Even Specter. He would always say the pros, the cons, and then that it was up to me. I wasn’t even sure what he really wanted me to do and it frustrated me. And I think that frustrated him.
“I’m not going to make all your decisions for you,” he grumbled one day after I had gone on and on about whether I should or not.
“I’m not asking you to!” I complained back. “I just–I just want to know what you really think about it, whether you really think I should or not.”
“I–I can’t tell you, Chance!” He sounded really exasp… exp… on edge. “I don’t want you making a decision based on what I think.”
“But–but I don’t know what to think,” I said, sounding a lot more pouty and whiny than I intended. Specter gave me a kinda glaring look. “I don’t know what to do…”
“Do you want the mass inside you your entire life?”
“Then get it removed.”
“Don’t be mad–“
“I’m not mad. I just–” He stopped and looked at me. Then put his arms around me, pulling me against him. “I just want you to be safe,” he whispered. “I guess I was a little mad. I–I can’t make the decision for you. I would, if I could. But it’d be very wrong. Would you want to make decisions for me?”
I reluctantly shook my head. “No. No, you’re right. That’s not what–you’re right. I’m just like, super scared…”
“I am too,” he admitted and I looked up at him. “I’m very scared of what might happen. But it could be bad either way. There’s no precedent for this.”
“Prec-e-dent. As in… nobody’s gone through this before. At least, as far as we know. Perhaps it has happened to people and no one ever knows.”
“How can they not know?”
Specter shrugged. “If they didn’t have sex like that. Perhaps someone did have this happen to them and they just… got rid of things quietly. It’s not as if you’re going to the hospitals about this. Maybe someone else found some private lab to get rid of their chip–or whatever it is–and they never talked about it.”
I shifted around, realizing the truth in what he said. “Do you think I should… go public about… about this?”
“I don’t know. I think we should get this taken care of. I don’t want you to be stolen from me and experimented on,” he said, in a kinda teasing way.
I couldn’t help but giggle a bit. “You’re right, we need to get this taken care of before anything else. And–and I will. I’ll have it removed.”
“Yep.” I squeezed him tightly. “I will get it removed.”
We decided to have the thingiemabob removed in early November. First we were gonna go on our little weekend away for our anniversary, and it was so nice.
Since it was off-season at the beach we went to, it wasn’t crowded at all and it was so nice. Specter and I had an amazing time. I didn’t get sunburned at all cause Specter made sure he slathered me down in sun screen so I was able to enjoy my time outside without getting burnt to a crisp. Well… enjoy as much as I could cause I did miss the kids so much on the first night but by the second night I was looking forward to going home, despite the fact that going home was going back to chaos and not relaxing on the beach with Specter.
Villy, Presea, and Glados were all jumbled up as they leaped onto me and Specter as soon as we got inside. It was a big tangle of bodies and I laughed happily as I hugged and kiss each of them. They hung onto me and Specter as he went over to the twins to greet them, both of which shrieked happily as we gave them our love. Yep, definitely a lot of chaos and noise but definitely worth it.
In early November we all went to the labs. The kids complained loudly about this, not wanting to stay there but we weren’t sure how long we were going to be there. Hopefully just one night… but we really weren’t sure.
“Don’t like it,” Villy said when we got into the rooms we would be sharing. He kicked the couch. “Wanna go home.”
“Wanna go home,” Presea echoed, trying to kick the couch and missing.
I sighed as I put Zaid into one of the little swings Uncle Kay had set up before we got there. “I know but we need to stay here for a couple nights. You’ll be good, right?”
“Nope,” all three of the older kids said, one after the other from oldest the youngest.
Specter and I exchanged looks and I was worried they’d be causing a lot of problems. When Uncle Kay helped me get them to the day care part of the labs, the girls were okay but Villy was still being stubborn. He screamed before we even left the bedrooms, threw himself on the ground and beat the floor. “WANT DAD!” he howled. “I WANT MY DADDY!”
“NO!” he pushed my hand away when I tried to reach for him. “I want daddy.”
“Hey, V-Vilkas,” Uncle Kay said, crouching down. “How about y-you help me ch-check the fences around th-the labs?” Villy looked at him all suspicious-like. “I don’t like g-going alone,” Uncle Kay added in a loud whisper. “I n-need someone brave to go with me.”
“I’m brave,” Villy insisted. “I’ll go wif you then.”
Uncle Kay took his hand and the two of them left the room. Presea whimpered a bit at the loss of her brother but once they were in the daycare, Gladdy pulled her over to a dollhouse and the two began playing. I kissed each of them goodbye then went to the labs to meet up with the doctor.
“Good morning,” she said, eyeing me. “You didn’t eat this morning, correct?”
I made a face. “I did all the things you asked me,” I said. “I’m starving.”
“Don’t be so melodramatic. Get changed, and take a seat.”
I put on the gown and sat down on the table, swinging my legs, feeling my heart going really fast. Now that this was happening I felt scareder than before. I watched the doctor checking things on the computer and doing some things, and then she had me sign some papers that Specter had already co-signed. “He’s gonna be here right?” I asked.
“Yes, though he will not be aiding me in the removal of the XC,” the doctor replied.
“Uncle Kay… w-will he be here?” I already knew the answer since he was off with Villy.
“No. He has duties elsewhere. I have three assistants who will be in here.” She gave me a dagger-shooting look. “Do you wish to pre-approve them?”
“No… n-no, that’s fine I just–I just…” I squirmed a bit. I’m so scared.
“Chance.” Specter came in the room and I went over to him, wrapping my arms tightly around him, kissing him hard. “Hey, it’ll be okay,” he said, running his hand down the back of my head. “You’ll be fine.”
“I kn-know,” I said although I was shaking.
He kissed me again then took me over to the table. “I’ll be right here the entire time.”
“I’ll be there when you wake up,” he said, putting his hands on either side of me. “I love you so much, Chance. You’re very brave for this.”
I squirmed again and looked sadly up at him. Would this be the last time I saw him? Unless I became a ghost again. That was always a possibility. But if I became a ghost again would I become like I was before, or like a regular ghost and unable to really interact with him or my kids. Never able to wrestle with Villy, kiss Presea goodnight, tickle Gladdy, hold Zaid’s hand as he learned to walk, or toss Lumie in the air? If I died… what would happen with Specter and the kids? Would the kids remember me much? Would I just be a photograph to them…?
I felt tears coming up and I fought hard to get rid of them. I wanted to jump off the table and run out of the labs. But the assistants came in and I was told to lay down, so I did. I held Specter’s hand until I couldn’t anymore and then I began breathing in the sleep stuff while counting backwards from 100…
“…ance…? Chance?… Hey… hey, love.”
I slowly opened my eyes, seeing Specter’s face leaning over me. “Hey,”I mumbled. “Wh–what happened…?”
“Everything went fine.The surgery and everything.”
I sat up a bit, rubbing my eyes. Then I checked under my hospital robe for the marks on my belly but I couldn’t see anything new. Only from the c-surgery. “It worked?”
“It was removed,” he said, rubbing my arm gently. “She cut in lower than your belly. How do you feel?”
“I dunno. Kinda weird… out of it I guess… how are the kids?”
He chuckled lightly. “They’re fine. Professor Rosso and Villy went for a really long walk and apparently they saw a bear in a pirate hat that tried to attack the professor but Villy fought it off.”
I giggled at that. “How long was I out?”
“Several hours, it’s evening now. You can have some food soon but not much…”
“Is there something wrong?” I asked since there was this weird tone in his voice.
“No,” he said quickly. Too quickly. “What do you want for dinner? I was thinking some chicken and potatoes. Or would you prefer something cooler?”
“I dunno. There’s really nothing wrong?”
“Nothing of importance.”
“So there is something?”
He frowned. “It can wait. But it’s nothing bad, all right? How about I bring the kids in to see you?” He got up and left without me even answering. I couldn’t ask him when he came back in since he brought the kids in one by one. They all wanted to climb onto me but Specter held them back. The kids all told me about what they did that day and I managed to stay awake long enough to see each of them then to have dinner, but then I went back to sleep since my body felt just so tired.
The next day I found out what the ‘not so bad’ problem was. I wanted to find out what they had found out about the thingiemabob but every time I asked Specter and Uncle Kay, they changed the subject. I began to get afraid that the ‘not so bad’ problem wasn’t ‘not so bad’. It was worse when I asked to see the doctor and Uncle Kay told me she wasn’t available.
“There’s something going on,” I said.
Uncle Kay ducked his head. “N-no, she’s j-just… busy.”
“With the thingie? The chip?”
“Um… y-… w-well, she’s busy.”
“When will I need to see her again?” I pressed. “She’ll need to see me again, right? To–t0 make sure everything went well?”
“I–I d-don’t know,” he said, fiddling with the end of his sleeve. “M-maybe.”
But when I went back to the lab room, the doctor wasn’t around. It was Uncle Kay who examined me, who did all the scans, and all of that. He told me it looked fine but I would need to continue be looked at and if Specter and I wanted to risk it again, we could try the injection thing again at some point to double-check the removal of the thingiemabob got rid of the pregnancy stuff. It was something we would have to do eventually… but I wasn’t looking forward to it. The injection was embarrassing, and if I got pregnant again… ugh.
“I’ll talk to Specter,” I said, getting up.
Just then the door banged open and the doctor stormed in. She saw me and gave me a murderous look that chilled me to the bone, as the saying went. I cringed back away from her. “What is he doing in here?” she spat out.
“I n-n-n-needed to m-make sure–with the s-scans–that he’s fine…” Uncle Kay said.
“Get him out of here.” She stormed over to the computer and threw herself into the chair.
Uncle Kay started to pull me to the door but I swallowed and dug my heels into the floor as best I could. “What’s going on?” I asked her. She turned and shot me another murderous glare. “Something has happened and nobody will tell me. Is it something to do with me?” And she said yes, at the same time her brother said no.
“S-sister,” he stammered but she stood up, nearly knocking the chair over.
“You want to know what happened?” she snapped and I was too scared to respond. She went over to a cabinet, flung the doors opened, pulled something out, then came over and slammed it down on the table by me. It was a baggie with a teensy thing inside. I bent down and saw it was this twisted lump of metal?
“What’s that?” I asked.
“That,” she hissed, “is the Xenomorph Chip. Rather, what is left of it.”
“When it was removed from your body it was destroyed.” The doctor folded her arms and looked at me as if she blamed me for that. “It melted. It was not hot, but it melted and became… that. There is nothing, Mr. Danevbie. And there never will be. Whatever that was is destroyed beyond all comprehension.”
My mouth opened a bit in surprise. “You–the–that?”
She stepped a bit closer to me and narrowed her eyes. “All our preparation and research was for naught. We might as well have spent the last few years staring at grass growing. All we have now is our pointless research, and a lump of a metal that seems to be titanium, with absolutely no other characteristics… and absolutely zero evidence of how it worked the way it seemed to work. It’s been fruitless research, Danevbie. Nothing!” She threw her hands up, grabbed the baggie, and stormed out of the room.
I gulped and headed back to my room with Uncle Kay who was as quiet as me. I felt a bit bad that it turned out the way it did but part of me really didn’t care. It was out and I was safe. The doctor was furious but I was… well, happy. It was a tiny little thing of metal that probably weighed next to nothing but I felt as though something huge and heavy had been taken off of me. It was out, I was alive still, and I could get on with my life without worrying about the thingiemabob inside of me. Whether it had been alien or magic, or what. It didn’t matter. It was gone. And I was okay.